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British Transport Police

The Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill was published on Friday 9th December 2016.  The Bill and supporting documents can be found on the Scottish Parliament webpage

Impact Assessments associated with the Bill and an independent Consultation Report are attached:

Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment

Equality Impact Assessment

Privacy Impact Assessment

In line with the Scottish Government’s responsibilities under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, a Strategic Environmental Assessment pre-screening submission has been completed for the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill.

Consultation on the Integration of the British Transport Police in Scotland into Police Scotland: An Analysis of Responses

Consultation responses can be found here.

The British Transport Police is the national police service for the railways.

It provides policing for both passenger and freight railways across England, Scotland and Wales, and is structured into regional divisions. According to the latest figures from March 2015, there are almost 5000 BTP officers and staff across the UK, of which 284 are based in Scotland as of August 2015.

Following the introduction of Police Scotland in April 2013, all policing in Scotland falls under the jurisdiction of its Chief Constable, and is accountable to the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Parliament. The only exception to this is the policing of the railways and site-specific policing of nuclear establishments and Ministry of Defence land.

During the course of 2013, the Scottish Government opened discussions around the integration of the BTP within Police Scotland and to further implement the three principles of police reform: strengthening local policing; enhancing access to national and specialist resources; and bring the service closer to the communities it serves.

The Scottish Government presented a case to the UK Government in December 2013 to support further discussion on this issue.

The Scottish Government  presented published proposals for the devolution of railway policing to the Smith Commission.

The Smith Commission’s recommendation, reached through cross-party agreement, was that the functions of the BTP in Scotland should be a devolved matter and we are working closely with the UK Government and other stakeholders to make the transfer process as smooth as possible.

In November 2014, the Smith Commission published its recommendations for further devolution in Scotland, which included the recommendation that “the functions of the British Transport Police in Scotland will be a devolved matter." This was agreed to in the UK Government’s command paper and, in implementing this, the Scottish Government has confirmed the BTP will be integrated within Police Scotland.

The role of scrutiny and accountability currently undertaken by the British Transport Police Authority will pass to the Scottish Police Authority.

The BTP provides a specialist function which is valued by the Scottish Government, the rail industry, railway staff and rail passengers, and it is essential this is maintained. This will be a key factor in the further consideration with stakeholders of the most appropriate model for policing of the railways within Police Scotland.

The timing for the integration of the Scottish Division of the BTP is subject to the progress of legislation through the UK Parliament.

Following the devolution of railway policing in Scotland, a detailed timetable for integration will be developed and implemented - this is likely to include legislation through the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Government will engage with key stakeholders and partners, and consult on draft legislation.

Our ambition is to maintain a specialist national railway policing unit within Police Scotland which is accountable to the people of Scotland, builds on the excellent skills, knowledge and experience of BTP and enhances railway policing in Scotland through direct access to the local, specialist and national resources of Police Scotland.

A Joint Programme Board (JPB) to integrate the BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland has been established with Terms of Reference and seven projects.

Justice Committee Stage 1 Report - 28 April 2107

Justice Committee Stage 1 Report - Scottish Government Response - 8 May 2017

Letter dated 26 June 2017 from the Minister for Transport and the Islands to Mr Nigel Goodband, Chairman of the British Transport Police Federation

Railway Policing (Scotland) Act 2017